When woman&home teamed up with JustOneThing365 to give one lucky *reader the chance to win a R120 000 makeover, we could never have imagined how beautiful the stories we’d receive from deserving winners would be. However, Christine Kuch stood out from the rest. As an SPCA inspector and now volunteer, she has seen the best and worst side of humans, and has saved countless animals in her quest to make a difference.
Here is more about our fascinating winner…
I got involved with the SPCA, almost accidentally, way back in the late 80s. I then moved to the national council of SPCA in ’98. The director approached me and said, ‘we’re looking for a qualified inspector with journalistic experience’. I was there full time until two years ago. I didn’t cut ties after that. I’m still working for the Roodepoort SPCA on an ad hoc basis – because that is where my heart is. I’m now the SPCA Trustee for The Giving Organisation.
A rescue that sticks in my mind was a call-out on a Saturday afternoon on FA Cup Final Day. It appeared to be a hoax when someone who had clearly been drinking said a monkey in the pub had taken his seat. When I asked what it was doing, he told me it was eating peanuts from the bowl on the bar. It wasn’t a hoax. Someone’s tame pet monkey had escaped and decided to go to the pub. The Star newspaper reported that the SPCA had given the monkey the red card, adding that the monkey had seen the winning goal. I missed it, and I am a huge soccer fan so that hurt!
Bad things happen, but it’s the good stuff that always brings tears to my eyes. There was a schoolboy who walked from Germiston with a yowling, starving kitten in his arms, that he had found at school. All he cared about was taking her to safety. When asked why he had walked all that way, he answered truthfully, “I had to walk because my bike had been stolen.” An appeal for a bike in the NSPCA newsletter led to a kind person donating a racing bike to the boy. The hero kitten saver came to see us on his bike that Christmas and received a very warm welcome.
I don’t believe that you can compartmentalise. I know some people have a heart for children, some for the elderly and others for the disabled. I have a heart for animals. But if you care about animals, you are not the kind of person who could be unkind to a child.
I believe it’s all about ‘one step at a time’. I believe that’s where people go wrong – they try to go the whole hog, all at once. Can you cut down on your use of plastic? That’s huge! How many billion people say ‘it’s just one straw, it doesn’t matter’? If you think that it does, it will make a huge difference. If I can relate this to animals, it may be as simple as sourcing more ethical activities during school holidays for family and friends, or checking that the cosmetics you use aren’t tested on animals. Whatever your passion is, there is a small change you can make. And if you do it for one day, doing it for the next is so much easier, and then it gains momentum.
On her winning makeover…
I’ll be honest, I’m actually terrified of hairdressers! But he [Matthew Mansoor from Veaudry International] was so realistic. And I think all the people I’ve encountered have also been grounded in that sense. It is life-changing in that you do start to look at things differently. However, nobody tried to mould me into something I wasn’t. That, I think, is the most pleasing part. While there have been definite improvements – skin, hair, you name it – I feel like a better person, and I definitely feel more confident, but I’m still me! That’s the important bit. So to everybody involved, a huge thank you.
On her photoshoot…
It was a huge pleasure and very interesting. Again, I’ve learnt a lot – I’m a big sloucher, but I’ve learned not to slouch. But thanks to everybody, it’s been a lot of fun.
JustOneThing365 founder Petra Laranjo is a South African inspirational speaker, published author of ‘Living On Purpose’, life and career coach, who aspires to help people reach their potential with purpose and confidence, so that they can live fulfilled and inspired lives. Her JustOneThing365 initiative encourages people to perform one small act of kindness each day, to better a difference to either people, the planet or animals.
*Christine won a R120 000 makeover including professional hair styling, a glamorous video and photoshoot, full skin treatments, a cruelty free beauty hamper, as well as life coaching from image specialist and life coach Petra Laranjo from JustOneThing365.
- Christine’s makeover was styled by Petra Laranjo, founder of JustOneThing365, author of Living On Purpose. The Key To Change Your Life And Impact Others, and director of Petra Laranjo Global, a training and development, cause-marketing company.
- Cabo de Mar gifted her with two beautifully hand-crafted, marine-inspired bracelets worn by the likes of Giorgio Armani, Tommy Hilfiger and Christiano Ronaldo.
- Sun Goddess, quintessentially South Africa’s Traditional Luxury brand, designed her new staple, made-to-fit denim jacket.
- Photographer Craig Hawks is a corporate events, product and sport photographer who is a master at capturing a person’s true essence with beautiful head shots.
- Celebrity hair stylist to Carolina Herrera, Tansey Coetzee and Bollywood film star Shiloh Shetty, Matthew Mansoor gave Christine a manageable but fresh crop at Veaudry’s Icon Salon.
- Make-up artist duo from Eve Image, Liezl Zene and Sigrid Shaw, took turns to perfectly execute her natural and fresh make-up look and give her tips on how to recreate it for herself.
- Her sparkling eyes were thanks to eyeSlices’ patented eye treatment gels which help relax, restore and revive tired, puffy, red, wrinkled eyes in minutes.
- Her radiant skin is courtesy of the remarkable paramedical in-clinic and personal-use skin revision system by DMK, whose scientific botanical formulas work with the chemistry of the skin.
- Chris received “the best mani and pedi I’ve ever had” at Bloom Aesthetics, who also offer laser hair removal, tattoo removal, full body skin-firming treatments and more.
- Chris’s eyebrows were created by Zayrah Emaum’s impeccable 6D microblading. The natural, realistic looking brows really supported her practical, no-fuss lifestyle.
- Life Med Aesthetics kicked off Chris’s process to flawless skin by introducing her to non-evasive in-clinic treatments – something Chris hadn’t had the luxury of experiencing before.
- Global market leader in elective IV’s, REVIV’s Vitamin drips help in the recovery of stress, fatigue, jet lag also contains anti-ageing and slimming benefits.
- SynerChi Organics were passionate about helping Christine boost her inner and outer vibrance and vitality with their nutritious superfoods range and lifestyle programme.